Kasich's plan to increase school vouchers draws mixed reviews - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Kasich's plan to increase private school vouchers draws mixed reviews

By Tiffany Teasley – bio | email 
MIDDLETOWN, OH ( FOX19) - Under Gov. Kasich's budget plan, the amount of school vouchers, given to children in under-performing schools, will be greatly increasing. THe state is approaching the mandated 14,000 cap on vouchers with more than 13,000 students enrolled in the program this year.

Next year, the number of  publicly funded vouchers to pay for private schools would expand to 30,000, and it would grow to 60,0000 by the year 2013. 

"I think it's a great opportunity for families," said Middletown Christian Schools Superintendent Mark Spradling.
Spradling says in the last two years the number of students enrolled through the state's tuition voucher program has jumped from  about 12 a year to nearly 60 a year.
"Students are taking advantage of it here in Middletown, it used to be that you would have to move out of your community in order to find those choices, this allows families to stay in the communities, keep some of our communities from deteriorating from families fleeing to other places," Spradling said.
Spradling says the maximum amount for a voucher nearly covers the full cost of their average tuition of $5,000 a year, making it more affordable for parents.
"A number of families can't afford both paying the school tax and paying tuition," Spradling said.
But not everyone in the public school system is on board with the move to increase vouchers.
"This is another undermining of public education without justification. There is no clear evidence that private schools are helping with student achievement on comparable levels," said Middletown School Board member Katie McNeil.
The voucher program would directly impact districts like Middletown with under performing schools.
 "I  believe parents are choosing vouchers not for academic reasons totally but for other reasons they do not want their children in public schools. Why continue to support various types of  segregation by vouchers," McNeil said.
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